How to win a writing contest

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By Jill K Willis You’ve decided . . . gulp . . . to enter your book baby in a writing contest. You’ve agonized over the synopsis, formatted the manuscript, and completed the contact form. You’ve edited it a thousand times, along with your mother and your critique partner. You’ve caught typos, grammatical errors, and plot holes. What more could …

Lessons Along the Road to Publication

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By: JPC Allen Thirty-two years. That’s how long it’s taken me to see my first novel in print. Thirty-two years since I was a freshman in college and recovering from an emergency appendectomy over Christmas break. To ward off boredom, I began writing. I’d written in bits and pieces, fits and starts, since second grade. But, for the first time, …

Resurrecting your Manuscript: Rewrite, Repurpose … but Regardless, Give Grace

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By Lana Christian Most, if not all, authors have at least one manuscript buried in a drawer. Maybe it was the first book you wrote. Secretly, you kept rooting for that underdog, hoping it would see the light of day. Maybe it can. The biblical story of Samson brims with lessons about giftedness, redemption, second chances, and the fact that …

Creating Quirky

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By: JPC Allen So much work goes into creating believable characters that writers sometimes forget to have fun with the process. One way I’ve discovered to prevent character development from becoming a chore is creating quirks for characters, fun traits that make my characters seem more likable or real or relatable. One of the reasons for Sherlock Holmes’s enduring popularity is his …

Three Tips for Polishing Your Rough Draft

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By: Katie Powner As an adjective, the word rough means “having an uneven or irregular surface; not smooth or level.” Boards can be rough. The seas can be rough. But how can stories be rough if they don’t have a surface? Well, they do. The surface of a story is the plot. Everything that happens, that you can see in …

The Power of a Writing Partnership: Part I

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By Frank A. DiBianca Whether one is a beginner, a recently contracted novelist (like yours truly), or a seasoned, book-a-year pro, it’s hard to overstate the importance of having a writing partnership. A look at my own writing partnership may be illustrative. Now, I’m not speaking about professional (i.e., paid) services, which are unquestionably valuable and indeed indispensable. I mean …

Famous First Words: The Power of the Opening Sentence

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By Tara Johnson “There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.” ~ The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Lewis, 1952) There’s nothing that sets mood, reveals character, raises intrigue and invites readers into your story like a power-packed opening. When I was editing my latest release All Through the Night, I studied the first chapter, sensing …

Research Blahs

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by Darlene L. Turner Research—a chore or fun? Doesn’t matter the genre. Every writer has to do some sort of investigation in order to get facts straight and make their stories authentic. Some writers love research while others get the blahs when it comes to this aspect of the process. Why? The number one reason is probably because it takes …

Don’t Quit Your Day Job – Some Ideas to Write Around Real Life

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by Tammie Fickas Ah, the life of a writer! You get to sleep in, enjoy your morning coffee on the back deck, spend a few hours at your desk, and boom, you have success. It’s enough to make a girl quit her day job and call herself a writer. Okay, before you stop reading, we all know it doesn’t work …

Microsoft Word: Trusted Friend or Bucking Bronc?

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by Rhonda Dragomir Hunched over my keyboard, lights dimmed so as not to keep my husband awake, I type feverishly on my manuscript. It’s due tomorrow. Though it’s past midnight, I push ahead. If I finish, I’ll sleep better. There. Perfect. One more review and I’ll let it rest until morning. But wait . . . where on earth did …